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MALAISE

François Hollande can’t shake his status as the least popular president in French history

French President Francois Hollande reacts as he accompanies a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
Tough days at the office.
  • Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

By most measures, François Hollande is the least popular leader in the history of modern France. Other recent presidents, despite having more time to disappoint the electorate, were more popular than Hollande at almost every stage of their tenure.

According to pollster TNS Sofres, Hollande’s approval rating bottomed out at a brutal 13% late last year:

As the jockeying ahead of the country’s 2017 presidential election begins, Hollande is doing his best to bolster his lowly standing among voters. Already this week, the president has announced plans to take in 24,000 refugees, launch air strikes against ISIL targets in Syria, and cut income taxes for 8 million French households. Earlier this year, he won goodwill as a moderate voice during the Greek debt standoff, counterbalancing the Germans’ hardline hawkishness.

As far as Hollande’s re-election campaign goes, this has been all for naught. After all, one thing that hasn’t really changed throughout his presidency is France’s stagnant economy. Unemployment is higher today today than it was when Hollande took over. And he sheepishly revealed recently that growth might top 1% this year—trop bien! 

According to recent polls, Hollande won’t survive the first round of the election, with voters instead opting for a run-off between center-right former president Nicolas Sarkozy and far-right challenger Marine Le Pen. Désolé, François.

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